Vancouver's Hootsuite cancels contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Hootsuite cancels ICE deal

UPDATE: 2:37 p.m.

Hootsuite says it is terminating a contract it has with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement after a "broad emotional and passionate" reaction from staff.

The Vancouver-based company's chief executive Tom Keiser broke the news to his staff in an email, where he says that within the last 24 hours he had learned many employees were upset by the company's decision to partner with ICE.

He did not share why staff were concerned, but says the issue created a divided company and is not the kind of business he wanted to lead, so he reversed the decision.

Keiser's letter says the company first proceeded with the contract after holding internal conversations and forming a committee to review the partnership.

Other tech companies have previously faced backlash from staff when considering contracts with ICE, who they allege has been involved with human rights and immigration abuses.

Hundreds of Google employees walked out and signed a petition last year in an effort to stop their company from working with ICE and the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which they accused of caging and harming asylum seekers and illegally detaining refugees and U.S. citizens.

ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Hootsuite says in an emailed statement to The Canadian Press that it is taking steps to ensure the termination is completed swiftly.

– The Canadian Press

ORIGINAL: 10:35 a.m.

Vancouver tech darling Hootsuite Inc. denies it has entered into a business deal that would see it partnering with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The American law enforcement agency has been the focus of criticism, controversy and outcry following policies that have separated migrant parents from their children at the U.S.-Mexican border.

On Twitter, Wednesday, a user who appeared to credibly identify themselves as a Hootsuite employee, expressed exasperation at the prospect of the social media management company teaming up with ICE.

“Been debating talking about this publicly because I don’t want to get fired, but it seems like the cat’s already out of the bag so whatever: yesterday Hootsuite signed a three-year deal with ICE. Over 100 employees have been extremely vocal in their opposition to this deal,” the user tweeted.

“That we are eagerly accepting money from an organization that is allegedly subjecting its female detainees to forced hysterectomies, that has a documented history of locking children in cages, that tears families apart and destroys lives is devastating and disgusting in a way … that I can’t effectively put into words,” the user tweeted, referring to recent media reports of forced procedures.

“Even more heartbreaking is that multiple members of our Mexico City support team have relayed their personal experiences being targeted and harassed by ICE and our leadership team chose to push this deal through anyway.”

Hootsuite denies it has entered into a deal with ICE.

“As a business, we do not discuss specific customer deals, however, because of the sensitivity in this particular case, I can confirm that Hootsuite is not entering into a deal with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” Hootsuite spokeswoman Melanie Gaboriault said in an email.

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